Online sales taxes are one step closer to becoming more common.
The U.S. Senate approved the Marketplace Fairness Act Monday with a 69 to 27
vote. The proposal would allow states to begin collecting sales tax from online retailers that make more than $1
million per year, even in states where they do not have a physical presence.
This idea has previously been a fictional dream for Knoxville's Union Ave. Books owner
Flossie McNabb. She said, "We've been fighting this to level the playing
field for all small businesses, mom and pop stores. We pay taxes, we collect
taxes and we just ask that the big chains and big box stores do the same when
they have a presence in our state."
Allan Benton's business, Benton's Bacon, has been bringing home the bacon
from across the country. About 75 percent of the earnings for Benton's Bacon
come from online sales, a huge slice of the business.
Still, Benton is in favor
of the Marketplace Fairness Act saying, "It's going to level the playing
field somewhat. It's probably going to have some adverse impact on places like
mines that ship a lot of product, but it's probably long overdue."
University of Tennessee's Director of the Center for Business and Economic
Research, Dr. Bill Fox, has been studying the impact of an internet sales tax
since 1997. He said, "The key issue is to try to get the tax treatment of
all sales the same. That way I just decide whether I want to shop in my pajamas
at two o'clock in the morning or I want to go into the store, I do that based
on those two different environments. Not because the government is taxing one
and not the other."
The Marketplace Fairness Act now heads to the U.S. House, where it's
expected to face a tougher fight.